Buyers of the all-electric, full-size Endurance pickup shouldn’t expect leather or hardwood floors. Vinyl seats or cloth will do just fine, said James Rajiah, sales director for Lordstown Motors Corp., at the truck’s launch event on June 25.
“Some of our competitors are doing lifestyle vehicles,” said Rajiah, referencing the Rivian R1T electric pickup that has garnered the lion’s share of attention, at least from retail buyers. “We’re building a truck for the working class.”
While both trucks are now scheduled for mid-2021 release, they aren’t in a race for the same buyers. At a $69,000 starting price, the R1T is going after the premium-SUV market. At $52,500 before incentives, the Endurance is strictly for commercial and fleet customers.
The company, which has sold out its first year of production, has received letters of intent from AutoFlexFleet, the City of Bowling Green, the City of Warren, the City of Kent, Clean Fuels Ohio, Duke Energy, FirstEnergy, GridX, Holman Enterprises and ARI, Innervations, Lewis Energy, Lordstown Township, Momentum, ProLeasing Services, ServPro, SmartCone, Southgate Leasing Services, Summit County, OH, Summit Petroleum, Turner Mining Group, U-Go Stations, United States Infrastructure Company, and Valor Holdings, among others.
In addition, Rajiah says the company has over 800 preorders for single units.
The truck launch also served as the factory unveiling. The Lordstown Assembly Plant, which General Motors infamously exited in 2019, is in the Mahoning Valley, which is now being touted as “Voltage Valley.”
As such, the event had the requisite “jobs creation and local economy” speeches from coaching legend Jim Tressel, U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, and Erin Spring, new ventures director at Goodyear, which will supply the Endurance’s tires.
And when the truck itself rolled up on stage, Vice President Mike Pence exited to deliver a campaign speech on the return of American manufacturing.
Regarding the truck itself, Lordstown CEO Steve Burns offered many superlatives: “The best traction of any pickup truck ever made … the safest pickup truck ever made … This truck handles like a sports car.”
This projected performance is owed in part to the truck’s big innovation: Burns claimed the Endurance will be the first production vehicle that utilizes a four-wheel-drive hub-motor system, which distributes weight and differing amounts of torque to each wheel.
What was not mentioned — and is the elephant in the room when talking electrification anything — is the battery itself.
Independent of the event, Lordstown has revealed some performance details. The Endurance is slated to deliver 600 hp and 4,400 lb.-ft. of peak torque for a 7,500-lb. towing capacity. These claims, of course, will come into sharper focus with battery specs and real-world tests.
With seven electric pickup models on the horizon there are still too many variables regarding range and performance for the jobs pickups are meant to accomplish. But Burns did raise a benefit that electric pickups in general should have over their internal-combustion engine (ICE) counterparts.
Traditional trucks have thousands of moving parts, from the pistons, valves, crankshaft, and differential to the gears, driveshaft, and u-joints. They need lubrication and suffer wear. “Every moving part is a decrease in efficiency,” Burns said.
The Endurance, on the other hand, has “only four moving parts in the drivetrain of this vehicle, and those are the wheels,” Burns said.
This is one reason the promise of an all-electric pickup is so tantalizing for fleets — maintenance. Maintenance costs for existing battery-electric cars (including the battery) are only about a third of ICE vehicles.
If electric pickups can maintain this same percentage advantage in a work environment, where a truck’s downtime is calculated as job expense, then fleets will be waiting in line.